Today, we live in a world where it’s increasingly accepted that animation can be for adults. The likes of The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy have demonstrated that not only do cartoons appeal to several generations of the same family, they can also be used to express dark humour and adult themes. While this hasn’t exactly filtered across into feature filmmaking, The Spine of Night makes a very good case for using the medium.
Tzod (Lucy Lawless), a wise woman from the swamps, traverses the snowbound landscape and reaches a cave, only to be faced by The Guardian (Richard E. Grant). She is seeking a mysterious blue bloom. One that holds a strange an unnatural power, which can grant man the gift of immortality or destroy landscapes. She recounts a number of tales to its protector, which form a picture of the history of the land.
The Spine of Night is a bloody fantasy epic which employs the freeness of the medium to great effect. Using rotoscoping technology, Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King’s film harks back to the likes of Gerald Potterton’s Heavy Metal while also riffing off a mix of Conan the Barbarian and a very dark version of the He-Man and The Masters of the Universe animation. It’s a gory and elusive slice of historical brutalism. The Spine of Night is beautifully nightmarish creation.
The Spine of Night is available on demand, on digital and in US theatres from 29 October.